The Laundry Room Breakout

Another breakout here…this time with laundry!  Laundry can be so dry and boring to teach that I wanted to put together something interactive and a little challenging for students to apply the information they learned.  This is in keeping with my other breakouts as the challenges involve completing activities that lead to four digit codes that unlock succeeding boxes, ultimately, reaching the final prize box!  I was not disappointed as students really worked well together in their randomly assigned teams, utilizing their knowledge and a little technology as they competed and collaborated to solve the challenges in under 43 minutes!

Prior to the Breakout

  • We discussed how to do laundry, sharing experiences (good and bad), practiced reading clothing care labels, sorting laundry, removing stains and sewing on buttons.
  • It is important to note that there is no exact way to sort laundry…merely suggestions to sorting categories. As I researched this, I found many different ways to sort…by color, by fabric and by dirt level.  So, please keep that in mind when completing these activities as they may differ from your method.  To illustrate and practice sorting, I have students participate in a Tops & Bottom Human Laundry Sort. First students use the colors and/or fabrics of the “tops” they are wearing, sort themselves accordingly and then discuss the results.  Repeat with”bottoms”.
  • After discussing the above, I have students complete the Laundry Basics Grid assignment below, using this website as a guide. (Note:  Be sure to copy the grid questions on one side of paper and the choices grid on the reverse side.)
  • I also hang stain labeled construction papers around the room.  Students must use the internet to find ways to remove it and then write it on the paper.  We discuss that there are often more than one way to remove the same stain and you may have to experiment to find the one that works the best for you.
  • Finally, I have students find a tutorial that they like and can understand on how to sew on a button. I provide them with fabric swatches, thread, needle, scissors and various types of buttons.  They follow their tutorial as they practice sewing on their buttons and I circulate the room offering help or suggestions as needed.  When they feel confident, they sew a button on a dress shirt, writing their name in fabric marker beside it.  This makes it so convenient for me to grade as I don’t have 30 swatches to carry around or keep track of.  See the image for below.  Students also thought this was pretty cool and were equally concerned that my husband wouldn’t be upset that they were practicing on his shirts!  After assuring them that he was good with it, they sewed on in confidence and were super proud that they learned a practical skill!


  • iPads or Laptops
  • Projector & Screen
  • QR Code Reader App
  • Construction Paper & Markers
  • Fabric Swatches, Scissors, Needles, Thread, Buttons, Etc.
  • Dress Shirts (optional)
  • Fabric Markers
  • Breakout Boxes, Locks, Prizes, Contents (See HERE for links to sources)

Breakout Day

  • Randomly assign teams based on your class size.  Briefly explain how the challenge works, how to line up the lock numbers, correctly, rules, etc.  When ready, let the challenge begin!
  • Challenge #1 requires students to decode a care label.  It looks like there are 5 parts, but it’s really only 4 so they have to remember that it’s a 4 digit code, not 5.  If they decipher the label correctly with the laundry symbols, they get the code to the next box.
  • Challenge #2 requires students to discern laundry FACTS from MYTHS…these are based on the topics/activities completed in class prior to the breakout.  Again, if they’ve answered correctly, the equation will yield them a code to the next box.
  • Challenge #3 requires students to sort the laundry, using the provided laundry basket categories.  When finished sorting, students received a form from me explaining how to figure out the code.  If they sorted correctly, the code presented itself for the next box.
  • Challenge #4 requires students to scan a QR code that takes them to a website that helps them deal with stains.  I give them the way to remove the stains as clues and they have to determine the stain they are removing for the crossword puzzle.
  • The first group to present me with a finished crossword puzzle is deemed the winner if the answers are correct.  If not, they go back and fix any errors.
  • Winners get to open the final box, enjoy their prize, participate in a photo shoot and have bragging rights!  All in all, a fun way to wind up a unit on clothing care!!


Image courtesy of Noonawoofy of Free Digital Photos


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